So long 2016. . .


As I finish up my final day at the office of 2016, I am overwhelmed with gratitude for the wonderful patients I have.

I feel so very blessed to have a "job" that I love and that I see literally miraculous things happen on a regular basis.

Chiropractic care is a very powerful thing - but more important to remember is that it is not chiropractic that heals - chiropractic just allows YOUR body to heal and function at a more optimal level.

Thank you for sharing your life with me - through marriages, divorces, deaths, births, job changes, moving, life changes, bad times, happy times, sickness and in health - it is a honor to be with you through it all.

Thank you for trusting me with your care. I very much look forward to spending 2017 with you!!!

Real talk about sleep.

Lets talk about sleep.  We all know sleep is important - but just how important is it really?  The importance of good quality AND quantity of sleep is something many underestimate.  The body takes advantage of the time you are sleeping and uses this time to properly heal, restore, and even mildly detox.  

Adequate sleep is a key part of a healthy lifestyle and can offer the following benefits:

  • Better mood
  • Better memory
  • Stronger immunity
  • Lower risk of injury
  • Better weight control
  • Clearer thinking
  • Better overall health
  • Improved sex life
  • Less pain

How do you know if sleep may be a concern for you?  Some things to consider regarding your sleep:

  • How many hours of sleep do you average?
  • Do you wake up throughout the night? 
  • Do you have difficulty falling asleep?
  • Do you wake up in the morning feel refreshed?
  • Do you toss and turn throughout the night?

Sleep shows up as a common complaint for the majority of my nutrition patients.  Often, there is another underlying issue with the body that, when properly addressed, sleep improves.  The great news is sleep is something I enjoy helping people with and have had excellent results with.  

Ready to take your health to the next level and address your health concerns, including sleep?  Please schedule online at for an initial nutrition consultation or call the office at #612.240.7133 for more information.



It never was about pain.

As a Doctor of Chiropractic (DC), my day consists mostly of hearing patient concerns regarding their aches and pains.  However, it never was about pain.  

What I mean by that is my reasoning for pursuing the education required to become a DC was not so I could help people out of pain.  True, pain relief is an amazing side effect of chiropractic care and I am happy that the work I do helps allow the body to heal better.  However, there is SO much more to chiropractic than pain relief.

The nervous system is the master controller of EVERY SINGLE process and function in the body.  Chiropractic care and the chiropractic adjustment is one of the only things that directly influences the nervous system.  Most patients experience pain relief, yes.  But most patients also experience improved sleep, energy, digestion. . .the list goes on and on.

It is important to understand that pain is a secondary condition to an underlying primary condition with the structure and foundation of the body.  These structural shifts affect our body by disrupting the normal alignment of bones, joints, and muscles and obstruct the normal spinal nerve/spinal cord function.  These abnormal disruptions create many different secondary conditions.  (Some examples of secondary conditions include headaches, neck pain, upper back pain, low back pain, numbness/tingling, muscle spasm, fatigue, restricted range of motion. . .)

What many patients fail to recognize is that they are seeing a healthcare provider for secondary conditions and the primary condition may never be addressed.  Oftentimes, once the secondary condition resolves, the patient decides to stop care.  The problem is that the primary structural condition was never addressed; therefore, the secondary condition(s) recur.

At Radiant Life Chiropractic, our goal is to identify the primary condition and provide an individualized treatment plan tailored to correct the primary condition and as a result, help you get relief from your secondary condition.  Our goal is to help you achieve a happy, healthy, well-balanced life.  If you are seeking this, please schedule an appointment online at or e-mail

It really is that simple:


Chiropractic is based on four ideas:

  1. The body is a self-healing mechanism.  If you cut your finger, it heals.  If you cut the finger of a corpse, it does not heal.  The difference is life - it is life that heals.
  2. The nervous system is the master system of the body - EVERY aspect of the human experience is processed through the nervous system.
  3. When there is interference with the function of the nervous system, not only can that compromise your physical well-being, but because it distorts your perception of the world and compromises your ability to respond to the world, it can have psycho-emotional consequences too.  
  4. What I do as a Doctor of Chiropractic is analyze, locate, and correct the cause of that interference.  YOUR body does the rest.  Healing from the inside out.

I don't have time. I am too tired. NO longer an excuse!

Eating healthy IS difficult for many people!  I'm not here to tell you it's easy.  However, I am here to help you find ways to make it easier.  I'm also here to help you stop using excuses, such as:

"I don't have time to prepare healthy meals!" 

"I am too tired by the time I am finally done with work to go to the grocery store!"

"I don't know what to make for dinner!"

"Eating healthy is expensive!"

I am human.  I struggle with the same things you do.  I believe this is what has helped me be even better at helping others.  Often, I feel I am better at helping others achieve their health goals than myself!  (I am seriously working on that.)

It's no surprise that my schedule is busy.  Owning my own business leads to a lot of stress, long hours, and being constantly on the go-go-go.  Sometimes I am exhausted by the time I finally get home.  In other words, I totally understand how you feel!  I have found ways to help me continue on my health journey - despite these struggles - and I hope you find them helpful as well.

If I can offer one key piece of advice to get past the hurdle of time and fatigue, it would be this:  PREPARATION IS KEY!

You must plan ahead.  You must plan your meals.  You must plan your grocery shopping list.  You must plan when you will go to the grocery store.  You must plan how you will store your food.  You must plan what you will do when you're away from home.

I made my trip for the week (or more!) to the grocery store today.  Here is a portion of what I purchased:

The before.

The before.

I highly recommend getting a Food Saver.  I was skeptical until I tried one.  It is really helpful if you purchase food in bulk.  I have found it great for storing meat in the deep freezer.  Also, I find that I am less wasteful since eating healthy involves eating fresh, not processed, food that will spoil.

Here is what I purchased after using the Food Saver:

The after: Veggies.  Sometimes I like to separate into individual meal portions.  It depends on how many mouths I am feeding.

The after: Veggies.  Sometimes I like to separate into individual meal portions.  It depends on how many mouths I am feeding.

Meat and seafood, also separated into individual meal portions.

Meat and seafood, also separated into individual meal portions.

You could do this process with pretty much all foods!  I am currently limiting dairy, but I know the Food Saver works great for cheese.

If you don't know what to make for dinner, one key piece of advice I would like to offer is:  EAT THE RAINBOW! 

It is important to eat a variety of foods.  I recommend my patients eat 3 times the amount of vegetables to fruit.  We are quickly approaching the season here in Minnesota where it is very easy to do that!  Regarding the cost of eating healthy, growing your own or shopping the local Farmer's Markets are great ways to purchase organic at an affordable price and support local.  Additionally, preparing meals at home is SO much more cost-effective than eating at restaurants every night.

Eat the rainbow!

Eat the rainbow!

It is easier than you think!

It is easier than you think!

I hope you found this information helpful.  What is the one thing that helps you stay on target with your healthy eating goals?  Please share in the comments below!

Do you believe in magic?


I get asked all the time about my thoughts on the next big pill, potion, shake, wrap, device - does it work, Dr. Carissa?  It feels like every day something new becomes the next big "miracle" cure.  Perhaps it's showing up constantly on your FaceBook timeline or perhaps you saw it on Dr. Oz or the Doctors.

I cannot state it any more clear:  there is no magic pill, shake, wrap, powder, or secret diet for weight loss and overall health.  

What do all of these products have in common?  I can say with certainty that when people start using these products they also start paying attention to their diet, are more careful with what they are putting in their bodies, and start to become more active.  Overall, they begin living a healthier, more optimal lifestyle.  I believe these diet and lifestyle changes are what prompt the improvements people see in their health.

Do the products help?  Possibly.  Each product and company needs to be researched and evaluated to determine the quality and efficacy.

I cannot stress enough the importance of working with an experienced, knowledgeable healthcare practitioner who knows your health history and develops a nutrition plan that is individual for you and monitored regularly.

"Why sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast."

- Alice in Wonderland

Winter Wellness Events

I was asked by the East Lake Library to offer a couple events regarding winter wellness.

The first event is on Tuesday, 12/8 and is on the topic of aromatherapy and essential oils.  There are only a few openings remaining.  You can register at this link:

The second event is on Tuesday, 1/12 and is on the topic of nutrition and self-care strategies to keep yourself healthy during the winter months.  The registration for this event opens on 12/8.

There is no cost for either of the events.  I would love to see you there!

7 Immune Boosting Tips

Fall is officially here - and NOW is the time to prepare your body for cold and flu season.  Fall generally starts the downward spiral of illnesses and viruses spreading around schools and workplaces. So, what can you do to strengthen your immune system and minimize illness?

1.  Get adjusted.

The nervous system and immune system are hardwired and work together to create optimal responses for the body to adapt and heal appropriately.  Chiropractic adjustments have been shown to boost the coordinated responses of the nervous system and the immune system.  A reputable research group found that when a spinal adjustment was applied to a misaligned vertebra, the white blood cell (neutrophil) count collected rose significantlyWhite blood cells are the cells of the immune system that are involved in protecting the body against both infectious disease and foreign invaders.  At Radiant Life Chiropractic, we have developed affordable ways for you and your family to get adjusted on a regular basis.

2.  Reduce stress.

When your body is experiencing stress it weakens your immune system. Repeated exposure to stressful situations can really compromise your well-being both mentally and physically. While we can't avoid stress altogether, minimizing your exposure can help keep your defenses strong. Whether you are dealing with stress infrequently or often, it is important to find ways to manage it.  There will always be stress, but it's how you respond and adapt to the stress that matters.  Find relaxing activities that help you find peace and calm down.  Some recommendations include breathing, yoga, meditation, listening to music, going for a walk, laughter, etc.

3.  Support the immune response.

There are a variety of immune boosting supplements we recommend.  For example, without an adequate amount of Vitamin D, there is less calcium uptake in the bloodstream.  Vitamin D can boost your immune system, so be sure you are getting enough of it from the foods you eat, exposure to the sun, or supplementation.  Living in Minnesota, we recommend supplementing Vitamin D.  Fall is the time to be building up your storage of Vitamin D in preparation of winter.  For other recommendations, please ask at your next visit.

It is very important to trust the source and quality of the supplements you take.  In February of this year, the Attorney General focused on a variety of herbal supplements from four major retailers: GNC, Target, Walmart, and Walgreens.  It was determined that only 21% of the products actually had DNA from the plants advertised on the labels.  Only 4% of the products tested at Walmart showed DNA from the plants listed on the labels.

The supplements that we carry can only be purchased through a healthcare practitioner.  We are very careful with what we offer our patients and have thoroughly researched the products, companies, ingredient sources, and business practices.  Additionally, Dr. Barnes has personally made on-site visits to  most of the companies we work with.

4.  Get enough sleep.

When you are deprived of sleep, your body is less likely to defend itself against illnesses.  Sleep can also help to reduce stress hormones and decrease inflammation in the body.  Aim to get 7-9 hours of sleep each night to keep your immune system strong and healthy. 

5.  Get some exercise.

Exercise causes changes in antibodies and white blood cells.  Even just 30 minutes of exercise a day can help to strengthen your immune system and promote weight loss.

6.  Eat good food.

Your immune system could be suffering if you are not eating a diet that is full of vitamins and nutrients.  Sugar and refined carbohydrates actually reduce the cells in your immune system that attack bacteria.  Eating foods like fruits, vegetables, and high quality protein will supply your immune system with vitamins and nutrients to strengthen it and keep it healthy.  It is also important to stay hydrated.  We recommend drinking 1/2 your body weight in ounces of water daily.

7.  Use essential oils.

Aromatherapy for immune boosting works in three ways:  (1) By virtue of their antibacterial and antiviral properties, essential oils can directly attack and destroy harmful microorganisms in your body.  (2) By directly stimulating the organs of your immune system in a twofold manner: improving the production of their various immunity-boosting cells and encouraging lymph to flush out toxins.  (3) By alleviating stress and controlling the hormones secreted by the adrenal system.

Numerous essential oils work well for immune system support.  Some Dr. Barnes recommend include Thieves, Lemon, Peppermint, Lavender, and Valor.

NOTE:  With the recent surge in essential oil popularity, there are a lot of brands out there claiming to be pure and organic, yet almost all of these companies are using synthetic oils to reduce costs. This can result in an inferior product that lacks life energy and therapeutic value. Please do your research and invest wisely, not only in your health and well-being but the health and well-being of the planet.

Thieves® essential oil blend was inspired by the legend of four 15th-century French thieves who formulated a special aromatic combination composed of clove, rosemary, and other botanicals they used while robbing the dead and dying.

Thieves® essential oil blend was inspired by the legend of four 15th-century French thieves who formulated a special aromatic combination composed of clove, rosemary, and other botanicals they used while robbing the dead and dying.

Start incorporating these immune boosters into your daily routine and you may be able to ward off illnesses in the future!  

For further information, call us today at #612.240.7133.

The Power of the Adjustment

Photo Credit:

Photo Credit:

I had the honor of being asked to check and adjust little Savannah Rose, who was only 7 hours old.

Savannah was born and for the first two minutes of her life she was not breathing.  The doctors and nurses discovered that she had inhaled some blood.  They were able to suction the blood out and she started breathing; however, her breathing was very shallow and she was pale.

I checked her upper neck and discovered a subluxation (misalignment of the vertebra).  I very gently, with just a little bit of pressure from my pointer finger applied very specifically to the subluxation, performed Savannah's first chiropractic adjustment.  Within minutes, her breathing was restored fully and her skin was nice and pink.

If you think about how rough the labor and delivery process is on the baby, you can understand how important it is for little ones to get checked as soon as possible following their entrance into this great world.

Photo Credit:

Photo Credit:

Thank you, Savannah and mom, for giving me the great honor to be a part of this miracle of life!